Henderson still on list for Jets' defensive job

Fewer candidates help secondary coach's cause

Pro Football

January 20, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Nearly two weeks since he first interviewed for the job, Ravens secondary coach Donnie Henderson may become the New York Jets' next defensive coordinator by process of elimination.

Six candidates that the Jets have either interviewed or been highly interested in have been hired by other teams. The most recent, Gunther Cunningham, who was thought to be the front-runner, agreed to become the Kansas City Chiefs' defensive coordinator during the weekend.

Former Chicago Bears coach Dick Jauron was also in the mix with the Jets, but he agreed to take over the Detroit Lions' defense on Sunday.

Now the race appears to be among Henderson, former New York Giants defensive coordinator Johnnie Lynn and Philadelphia Eagles linebackers coach Ron Rivera. The Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs Sunday, which now allows Rivera to interview for the job.

Jets coach Herman Edwards was impressed with Henderson when they met Jan. 8. Henderson, who would be asked to run an attacking 4-3 scheme with the Jets, said he felt his interview went well and he has set no timetable to hear from the Jets.

After losing out on experienced coordinators Cunningham and Gregg Williams, who took that position with the Washington Redskins, Edwards is now expected to be leaning toward hiring a first-time coordinator, which would narrow the choices to Rivera and Henderson.

In Henderson's favor would be the Ravens' fourth-ranked pass defense. Cornerback Chris McAlister and safety Ed Reed also made the Pro Bowl.

If Henderson, 46, leaves, the Ravens could look to promote assistant secondary coach Dennis Thurman. Henderson could not be reached to comment yesterday.

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